Log prices were down in practically all regions tracked by WRQ in both the local currencies and in US dollar terms. The only exceptions were in Western US and British Columbia, two regions that have been benefiting from strong exports of lumber to Asia and higher demand for lumber in the US market the past six months. In US dollar terms, log prices in the 2Q/12 fell the most in Brazil, Japan, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Russia.
Consumption of lumber in Europe has been in decline as a result of the continued financial crises in a number of European countries. As a consequence, demand for sawlogs and log prices have fallen steadily for the past 12 months and were on average about 14% lower in the 2Q/12 than in the 2Q/11. The price declines were the largest in the Nordic countries where log prices have come down 18% the past year. The good news for the region’s sawmills is that log prices have fallen more steeply than lumber prices, which only declined an average of eight percent from the 2Q last year. Despite having moved up slightly the past few months, lumber prices are still well below the average for the past three years.
A comparison of sawlog prices from the 2Q/12 with those from 2Q/10 shows that current prices are substantially higher in most European countries, particularly in Eastern and Central Europe. For example, average prices in Poland are up 32% from two years ago, and Austrian sawmills have seen log costs go up 15% since 2010. Of all European countries tracked by the WRQ, only Sweden and Norway had lower log costs in the 2Q/12 as compared to the same quarter in 2010.
Global pulpwood and timber market reporting is included in the 52-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, established in 1988 and with subscribers in over 25 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.woodprices.com